If you suffered injuries from a dog bite, you should contact the Chesterfield personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC immediately. We might be able to represent you in your case and hold the at-fault party liable for their actions.
Dogs are a popular choice of pet for people around the country. Unfortunately, they can cause severe harm if they bite a person or another animal. They have strong jaws and sharp teeth that can puncture the flesh and cause debilitating injuries.
The Chesterfield dog bite attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC have been fighting on behalf of our clients since 2002. As a result, we have been able to recover over $3.5 billion in compensation for them. Our legal team will tirelessly work to pursue the justice you deserve. Call us for a free consultation at (314) 963-9000 to learn more about how we can help.
Dog Bite Laws in Missouri
Missouri is a strict liability state regarding dog bite injuries. That means the dog’s owner is liable for the losses suffered by the victim due to the attack:
- If the injured party was on public property or lawfully on someone else’s private property;
- Whether the owner knew about the dog’s viciousness or the dog has prior incidents of viciousness; and
- If the victim didn’t provoke the dog to bite them.
Dog owners must follow city ordinances to prevent a dog bite injury. They must confine their dog to a building or cage while at home. If they’re on public property, they should restrain it with a leash. If they allow their pet to roam free, they could be held liable for an attack that results in injuries.
Common Injuries Dogs Can Cause
A dog bite can lead to severe injuries and medical problems, especially if the victim doesn’t seek immediate treatment. However, the initial incident shouldn’t be your only concern. Without adequate medical care, you could develop a deadly infection or suffer significant complications from your injuries.
The most common injuries associated with dog bites are:
- Psychological or mental problems, such as anxiety and phobia of dogs
- Puncture wounds
- Damage to nerves, tissue, and tendons
- Eye and face injuries
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Torn or damaged muscles
Various complications could arise that might require emergency or ongoing treatment, such as:
- Sepsis – This occurs when the body aggressively responds to an infection and can result in organ failure, tissue damage, or death.
- Tetanus – Bacteria can enter the body through puncture wounds and affect the nervous system. Tetanus can lead to various painful symptoms and become life-threatening without medical intervention.
- MRSA – This is a bacterial infection that’s often challenging to treat because it’s resistant to many antibiotics typically used to treat staph infections.
- Rabies – If a dog has rabies, they could pass it on to a person through a dog bite. This is a viral disease that infects the central nervous system and causes a range of problematic symptoms.
- Pasteurella – You could find this type of bacteria in a dog’s saliva. It enters the body through a break in a dog bite victim’s skin, causing infections of the skin, bones, joints, and tendons.
If you develop a life-threatening infection, you’ll need emergency medical care or surgery. Incurable infections might require amputating the affected body part, such as a leg or fingers. The associated costs can become a significant economic burden. You shouldn’t be responsible for these expenses. OnderLaw, LLC can help you hold the dog’s owner liable and seek the compensation you need to afford your treatment.
Compensation You Might Be Entitled to after a Dog Bite Injury in Chesterfield
Various factors can contribute to the amount of compensation you receive from an insurance claim or settlement, including the losses you suffered. A physical injury isn’t the only problem you could face. You might also experience emotional or mental trauma from the attack. The financial award you seek from the dog’s owner should compensate for your total economic and intangible losses.
Some of these losses could include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
If you want to sue the dog’s owner, you must file your lawsuit within a specific timeframe. Missouri has a five-year statute of limitations for cases involving bodily injury. That means you would have five years from the date of the dog bite to initiate your lawsuit in court. After those five years pass, you won’t have another opportunity to hold the at-fault party liable.
Handling the Aftermath of a Dog Bite
What if the dog that bit you belongs to a friend or acquaintance? Or what if you were bitten at your friend’s home? That’s when you particularly need to hire an attorney. When you hire us, you take the emotion out of the equation. We will handle all the communications with your friend’s homeowner’s insurance company, and you can focus on making sure your wounds are healing and that your friendship is intact.
Still, it’s crucial that you take immediate legal action if someone’s dog causes your injuries. With strict liability laws, you could hold the owner liable for your losses. However, you must have solid evidence that proves you sustained an injury and what expenses you incurred as a result.
One of the best ways to prove what happened is by seeking medical treatment. You should not wait days or weeks before your initial appointment. If the injury is severe, go to a hospital immediately after leaving the scene of the attack. Even if you have minor injuries, you should still see your doctor. Sometimes, the effects of a dog bite don’t show up until later. You could develop an infection and require emergency medical care.
After your initial medical evaluation, your physician might recommend that you return for a follow-up or get treatment from other healthcare professionals. It’s vital that you follow their instructions. Continue with your treatment until you recover. You must also attend your appointments regularly. Don’t make a habit of skipping them or allowing weeks or months to pass in between office visits.
Insurance companies typically want to avoid paying settlements. They might look for reasons to deny your claim or make a low settlement offer and pressure you into accepting it. Any significant gap in treatment could give them the evidence they need to prove your injury isn’t as serious as you claimed.
You will also need to hire a Chesterfield dog bite attorney. Handling an insurance claim or lawsuit alone isn’t a good idea. You likely don’t know the deadlines you need to follow or how to negotiate an insurance settlement. If you face certain obstacles, you might not know how to overcome them. It could delay the progress of your case or result in a denied claim or dismissed lawsuit.
At OnderLaw, LLC, our legal team is familiar with the process of pursuing compensation. We know how to handle a dog bite case effectively and where to look for the necessary evidence. We can conduct the investigation and complete every step on your behalf. You shouldn’t have to face the overwhelming stress of a legal case. We can take on that responsibility so you can focus on what matters – healing your injuries and getting your life back on track.
If possible, you should also maintain documents associated with your case. We can gather all the evidence we need, but you should also keep copies of all documentation you receive. That could include physician’s notes, insurance company letters, and prescriptions. We can review everything you have to determine whether it’s something we can use.
While your case is ongoing, be sure to avoid posting about the incident online. Many people don’t know this, but insurance companies and defense attorneys might check out the dog bite victim’s social media accounts. They’re typically looking for evidence that could work in their favor. For example, if you claimed that your injuries left you immobile, but you post a photo of yourself participating in rigorous activity, you could lose your case.
OnderLaw, LLC Can Investigate the Dog Attack
Since Missouri is a strict liability state, the owner should be financially responsible for your losses. OnderLaw, LLC can use our knowledge of state laws and exhaust all resources to investigate the incident and gather sufficient evidence to build a strong case for you.
Examples of evidence we might need are:
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Police reports
- Documentation from animal control
- Pictures of physical injuries
- Photos from the incident scene
- Security video footage of the attack
- Copies of your medical records and medical bills
- Copies of available insurance policies
You can depend on the Chesterfield dog bite attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC to locate critical evidence and seek the maximum compensation you deserve. You won’t be alone during this devastating time in your life. We will remain in your corner and advocate for your rights until the end of your case.
Contact OnderLaw, LLC for a Free Consultation
At OnderLaw, LLC, we take dog bite cases on contingency. That means you don’t have to pay us upfront for our services. You won’t owe us any legal fees or costs unless we recover compensation for you from an insurance claim or lawsuit. If we lose, you won’t have to pay.
We have been able to build and maintain a stellar reputation in Chesterfield for the services we provide. Multiple organizations have recognized us for our hard work, including The National Trial Lawyers, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and Martindale-Hubbell. We’re proud to serve members of our community and help them fight for compensation from those who caused them harm.
If you suffered dog bite injuries, contact OnderLaw, LLC at (314) 963-9000 immediately for a free consultation with one of our Chesterfield dog bite attorneys. You can also reach out to us online.